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Traces of the past in Smith

Smith - John Brady
Photo by John Brady

This week, Smith Gallery is playing host to “Traces,” an exhibit of plaster and wax works by Hannah Fiske ’14 that represents the culmination of her semester at Grinnell as a Post-Baccalaureate Fellow.

“Traces” features a series of squares mounted on the wall and hanging in front of spotlights around the gallery. Fiske created her pieces by pouring plaster and wax onto wrinkled plastic and then sanding the pieces down into smooth squares.

“It was kind of just an exploration of what looked best, or what accentuated its forms next to each other,” Fiske said. “It was a fun process. It was an intuitive process as to what worked best for each piece.”

Over the past semester, Fiske’s work has primarily explored linear forms through prints of horse hair on tracing paper. The three-dimensional pieces included in “Traces” only came together over the last few weeks of the semester.

Fiske said that the show provided her with an opportunity to illustrate the formal properties of her materials while also exploring notions of temporality.

“It’s less about transformation and more about letting the materials be what they are themselves. I think that putting them next to each other kind of accentuates some aspects of them, like the plaster being very matte and the wax being more malleable and shiny in a way and translucent,” Fiske said. “At the moment it’s a little bit more about formal aspects, but I also kind of see these as capturing moments in time and also … like they’re capturing the shape of the plaster but that’s also like a moment in time, and then kind of accentuating that with the wax going in and it’s kind of this map of time.”

Photo by John Brady
Photo by John Brady
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